We spend a lot of money on the stuff that sparkles, so it makes sense that we would want it to last a lifetime. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. Things get damaged, stones get lost, and metals start to tarnish. But if you are a little more diligent with your bling-care, you will certainly shine on for many years to come.
Here are 8 tips for making sure your jewellery stands the test of time.
1. Remove your jewellery while performing manual tasks.
So many people say they "live in their jewellery" and feel "naked without it." Sorry to bust your bubble, but this is probably not such a good idea. When you're doing manual tasks like cooking, cleaning and gardening you need to remove your jewels to prevent them from being exposed to harsh chemicals and cleaning fluids, not to mention the banging around and potential loss of stones down a drain or in a garden bed.
2. Make sure it's the LAST thing you put on in the morning
This is especially important if you have a lengthy beauty routine! Wearing your precious gems while you're doing your hair and makeup will result in layers of cosmetics, sprays, perfumes and lotions building up. All of these things have potentially damaging chemicals in them that will wear your jewellery down, not to mention make it cloudy and dirty, taking away some serious sparkle.
3. Remove your jewellery before bathing
Just because a long soapy shower makes you feel a million bucks, doesn't mean it will do the same for your jewellery. In fact, it will make it dirtier as soaps can cause a film to form on top of your stones and metals, which makes it super dull. The same also goes for leisurely bathing i.e. in pools or spas. The chlorine in the water can react to certain metals, causing colour changes and even structural damage. Besides all that, if you've ever tried to find a lost diamond in a giant swimming pool you will know that this is an impossible task!
4. Avoid contact sports
If you're about to get all rough-and-tumble on us, be sure to remove all of your jewellery first, ESPECIALLY rings. One hard blow can be enough to break even the strongest of metals, especially the tiny claws that hold your stones in place. Even if your jewellery DOES survive a game of touch footy, just keep in mind that every time your stones take even the slightest beating, things could possibly be coming looser every time, putting your precious stones at risk or falling out later.
5. Hair salons and earrings don't mix
If you wear earrings regularly, be sure to take them off before getting your hair done at the salon. For one, there's nothing worse than a comb catching your hoops and tugging painfully at your earlobes! Not to mention how easily earrings can be broken if this happens. If you're a pearl wearer, avoid wearing them at all costs if you are getting your hair dyed as some colouring agents contain alcohol in them that can spoil the lustre of pearls. This also goes for your pearl necklaces.
6. Know how to clean your jewellery
For best results you can use gold or silver professional polishing cloths for your metals, but if this seems a little excessive you can always opt for rubbing alcohol. Stick to soft fabrics like svelte to do the polishing as tissues and paper towels can cause scratches. If you want to get your diamonds looking like new, some warm water (never cold) with the smallest amount of dishwashing detergent makes for a great at-home remedy. Soak your diamonds in a bowl of the mixture for a few hours and then finish with a gentle rub down with a soft toothbrush. Whatever you do, DON'T USE BLEACH! Of course, you could also just take all of your jewellery to your local jeweller for a professional clean.
7. Never clean damaged jewellery
People like to use the excuse that those cleaning machines at the jewellers loosen the stones and cause them to fall out, but this isn't necessarily the case. Cleaning jewellery when it is already damaged or broken will exacerbate any underlying problem. For example, if the stones in your rings are already loose or a claw is broken, putting it into a machine, or even cleaning it yourself, will cause stones to fall out. Make sure you're inspecting your jewellery regularly, especially before you clean it, and if it is damaged set it aside to get fixed before you do anything else. You can take your jewellery to any good jeweller and they will 'service' it for you, looking at it under a microscope and making sure everything is as it should be. Claws will be tightened, gold will be plated, missing stones will be replaced etc. After all of the right checks have been made they will usually clean it for you as part of the service as well. We highly recommend taking your special pieces for annual inspections.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.au